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Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao
This is my second ascend in this mountain. Last 2013, Mt. Cristobal was my first hike, then the "Bloggers Climb I" in Mt. Batulao, and this year, it's the same thing. But now, this is JaVee's first year anniversary in  mountaineering. Given the fact that this was also his first summit reached. He's the one who organized and gave all his effort just for the success of this climb. It was my tune up climb for our hike in Mt. Mantalingajan in Palawan.

Te Bing and I met at the 7-11 convenience store in LifeHomes, Pasig City. Then we took a jeep going to crossing. In crossing, we ride a bus going to EDSA Reliance, in front of the gasoline station. From there, we took a bus going to Coastal Grand Terminal. Waited for the other participants to arrive then took a bus going to Evercrest.

Evercrest
According to them, they want me to take a stolen shot while they were walking on the highway. But look at the photo on the right, is it a stolen shot? I think not, because if you'll look on their faces, they were all smiling the time I took the photo. It was around 7 AM when we started walking going to the jump off. The weather was great and the wind was cool.

Since our hike was Sunday, there were people and vehicles who were passing by and going to the church nearby. I thought it's going to rain, because the clouds were still dark, but when I checked the time, it was still early.

Mt. Batulao
The photo above shows the gorgeous range formation of Mt. Batulao. The green grass on the surface of the mountain are all refreshing in the eyes. The trees are like green pearls scattered on the mountain. This photo was taken before reaching the first store along the trail. This is also the place where we started chatting with the other participants.

Mt. Batulao
The residents main source of income is farming; as what you can see, some parts of the mountain were converted into plantations. There were sweet potatoes, peanuts, corn and others plants planted almost along the trail. In this set up, I am afraid because if ever there will be a strong weather disturbance in the area, there's a possibility that soil erosion may happen.

Mt. Batulao
At around 9:14AM we reached the Camp 1. The registration is 20 pesos per head. Here, the wind was strong and cool. You have access to see the gorgeous formation of this mountain. It is the first camp site on the old trail. This is the location where hikers can take their lunch, pitch tents, cook their foods and others. Souvenir items like shirts can be bought in that kubo. I If you're want to use wash room, you can find it here.

After Camp 1, you can see a lot of camp marks on the trail. Since Batulao is one of the mos accessible mountain from Metro Manila, there were a lot of uneducated hikers who ascend here. Why uneducated? Click here: Vandalism in Mt. Batulao. The next part is the assault trail where the sand was so slippery. We met a lot of hikers on trail who were taking a rest and were taking photos of the gorgeous view. The photo below shows the length of the trail.

Mt. Batulao
Before reaching the summit of this mountain, another challenge that everyone will be facing is the rope segment/or the 80 degrees assault. For the first time hiker, watching the others descending and ascending on this part was really nerve wracking, but if you love rock climbing and scrambling, you'll enjoy this part. By the way, this part will be difficult it it's raining, because the rock can be slippery, so please focus on what you're doing.

Mt. Batulao
At around 11AM, we reached the summit. Here, you have 360 degrees access to see how gorgeous the slopes of this mountain is. The shadows like ranges can be seen from afar. The cool wind and the green surroundings were spectacular. The blue skies and water creates a perfect horizon. You can definitely see the entire province of Batangas and some parts of Cavite province while standing on the summit.

Mt. Batulao
Here we are. Photo courtesy of Normanday Salazar
During our ascend, there was a vendor on the summit who was selling soda and food as well. In addition, there was this group with their guide/organizer who did ascending using New Trail to Old Trail. So, when they arrived on the summit, we were taking a rest; then they stayed beside me and I was able to hear what they were taking about. Their guide said: "Kapag may nagtanong sa inyo kung anu ang tawag sa bundok na ito, sabihin nyong Mt. Pangil ng Buwaya." I was kinda amused that time because of what I heard. Mt. Pangil ng Buwaya? I know that the formation of this mountain is pretty similar to that, but why he's introducing that name to that group? and not Mt. Batulao? I dunno!

Mt. Batulao
We left the summit at around 11:45AM. We did a traverse using Old to New trail and I can say, descending Batulao was a bit difficult than ascending it. The slippery sand and the strong wind mixed with sad was destructive. Look at the photo above, the trail is also cliff hanging, so hikers should be focus on the trail and not with the strong wind. Again, another factor to consider in hiking Batulao is the weather; in dry season,there's the strong wind mixed with sand that can irritate your nose and eyes. It can also make the trail slippery. If it's rainy season, expect for a slippery and muddy trail. Since there are assault part, it might be dangerous, so be prepared.

Mt. Batulao
As part of my “buwis buhay photos,” I usually do a death defying poses on the boulders; it’s actually my signature in every climb. Look on the photo above. Almost all of the participants had a photo shoot in this exact area. It was dangerous, but still we overcome our fears. We were doing our photo shoot while other hikers from other groups were passing by.

Mt. Batulao
 at the store. Photo courtesy of Denver Pascual

At around 2:15PM, we finally reached the store where the fork trail is located. Instead of having a break in the store, we proceeded to Tatay's store, few meters away. We took a break in one of the stores along the trail. Syempre nagpapasalamat ako sa itlog at saging ni Tatay na nagbigay ng akin ng enerhiya sa buong journey namin sa Batulao. Syempre mawawala ba ang sandamakmak na mga green jokes sa tindahan ni Tatay? Syempre hindi no, kaya natatawa lang yung ibang hikers na naandun sa tindahan. Nahiya nga ako ng kaunti eh, kaunti lang naman, may cute kasi silang kasama sa group nila.

We reached the highway at around 2:30PM, so we had more time to spend. so, after the climb, we cleaned ourselves at the house almost beside the highway. They are offering Ligo, Ihi at Dumi for a low low price. Syempre hindi ko makakalimutan si Doray, si Nanay at si Kuya na nag-asikaso samin habang naliligo. Naging trending tuloy ang #sino ang hindi pa nagbabayad? hahaha. At si Doray may galit sakin. May galit ata sa bading yun eh, siguro may nakaraan s'ya sa bading. hahaha.

When we're done with our final preparation, we chartered a jeepney going to Tagaytay-Crossing to Eat bulalo. Jeepney fare was 18 pesos (I think.) Syempre, mawawala ba ang pamimilit ng karamihan sa anniiversary celebrant? Kaya nga ayokong nagcecelebrate ng mga ganyan eh, dagdag gastos lang. hahaha I would like to thank JaVee for the sumptuous dinner he sponsored. Till next climb pipz.

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